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But does Ari have what it takes to win?

    19 Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy Book Releases of May 2021

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    You can find the best fantasy & sci-fi book releases of May 2021 below.

    As usual, I’ve tried my best to create a list with both well-known and lesser known books, with different genres. That way, there should always be a book in there that tickles your fancy.

    Check out the different titles with genres in the overview, and click on the titles you’re interested in to jump to that book for more information. 

    The book I read this month is Celestine (YA Coming of Age Contemporary Sci-Fi, centered around mental health). 

    best fantasy sci-fi book releases may 2021
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    Fantasy YA

    Fantasy Adult

    What I Read: Book Releases May 2021

    Celestine by Kevin St. Jarre

    scifi book releases may 2021 celestine

    Genre: Coming-of-Age Contemporary Sci-Fi, mental health
    Pubdate: 12th of May
    Publisher: Encircle Publications

    The premise of this book intrigued me. What happens when you arrive in a country, similar yet completely different from the one you knew after you’ve lost your parents and watched many others die, only to be treated by the people in that country as if you were a danger to them all. I was, however, a little bit let down with the execution of this idea.

    The story is about Celestine, who departed earth in 1984 together with her parents as part of a secret mission into space. However, just months after their departure, a virus ravaged the ship’s crew, killing nearly everyone aboard. They return to earth, where Celestine becomes one of six survivors—her parents not being amongst them. Even though for them just two years have passed, almost forty years have passed on Earth, and Celestine comes back as a 17-year-old in the year 2022. In addition to the same teenage angst every other teenage girl faces, Celestine has to adjust to all the new technology and deal with the public who—in the aftermath of COVID—still fears that she’s contagious, even though the government says she’s not. She also has to deal with her survivor’s guilt, therapy, and fear of becoming sick.

    What I liked about the book, apart from the premise, was that we get sucked into Celestine’s paranoia. We believe that there may be something bigger going on because that’s what Celestine believes. The story also contrasted the current worldview against the one Celestine grew up with during the ’70s and ’80s, which was apparently more optimistic.

    There are some nice ideas in there, for instance, how weird it actually is that we have all these ‘friends’ on Facebook, who can see what we do, but none of these ideas are fully explored. I think the author wanted to put in a bit too much, so we actually barely scratch the surface.

    I wasn’t feeling connected to the character, though. I feel the book let me down a bit because of that. Since so much of the story revolves around Celestine’s mental health and feelings, not feeling connected to her made that I ‘go along’ with her experiences. I felt more detached from it.

    That said, it’s still an interesting story, and after you get through the beginning (which I felt dragged on for a bit too long), it does make you think about today’s society, health, and our treatment of refugees and immigrant (who I think face a lot of the same issues Celestine did; probably even more).

    So, if that sounds like your cup of tea, make sure to check it out!

    Fantasy & Sci-Fi Book Releases May 2021

    The Worlds That Separated Us (The Worlds Duology #1) by Megan Jayne

    the worlds that separated us fantasy book releases may 2021

    Genre: YA Contemporary Paranormal Fantasy Romance
    Pubdate: 1st of May
    Publisher: Light and Joy Publishing

    Rosie is a university graduate from Earth. But after a car accident and an oddly familiar stranger turns her world upside down, she’s forced to question everything she thought she once knew, including whether or not she’s from Earth. Suddenly she finds herself in a world of betrayal, loss, and love. Rosie paces an impossible choice between the two worlds she’s grown to love or risk losing everything she’s ever cared about. To make matters worse: there’s an impending war on the horizon.

    Realm Breaker (Realm Breaker #1) by Victoria Aveyard

    realm breaker book cover sci fi fantasy books new releases 2021

    Genre: YA Epic Fantasy
    Pubdate: 4th of May
    Publisher: Orion

    Corayne lives at the end of the world, where she watches her pirate mother sail away, year after year. Adventures she doesn’t share. But when a mysterious, immortal, and deadly assassin appears on her doorstep to say she’s the last member of a dying bloodline, Corayne seizes the chance to have an adventure of her own. The stranger even says she’s the only one who can save the world.

    But that world is in even graver danger than imagined. Corayne and her rag-tag group of allies are alone in a world that is slowly coming apart with little but their fading hope to guide them. Still, courage can bloom even in the darkest corners. It just might be enough.

    Blade of Secrets (Bladesmith #1) by Tricia Levenseller

    blade of secrets book cover new release fantasy books

    Genre: YA Epic Fantasy, mental health
     4th of May
    Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

    A blacksmith with social anxiety: that’s Ziva. She much prefers metal to people and spends her days tucked away in her forge, imbuing her weapons with power using her magical gift. But then she gets a commission from a powerful warlord. The result: a sword capable of stealing its victim’s secrets. When Ziva learns the warlord wants to use it to enslave all the world under her rule, Ziva takes her sister and flees. She’s then joined by a very handsome mercenary and a young scholar with extensive knowledge of magic. They all set out on a quest to keep the sword safe until they find either a worthy wielder or a way to destroy it.

    The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen #3) by K.S. Villoso

    best fantasy book releases may 2021 dragon of jin sayeng

    Genre: Adult Action-Epic Fantasy
    Pubdate: 4th of May
    Publisher: Orbit

    It’s the finale of the Bitch Queen trilogy. Queen Talyien is home, but unimagined dangers await her in the halls of her father’s castle. There’s a war on the horizon. Her son was stolen from her, her warlords despise her, and cross the sea, there a cursed prince threatening her nation with invasion to win her hand. On top of that, her father’s ancient secrets are dangerous enough to bring Jin Sayeng to ruin. Her nation could be set aflame. Talyien will need to decide whether she flees her shadows or embraces them before the whole world becomes on an inferno.

    Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon

    sorrowland fantasy book releases may 2021

    Genre: Dark Adult Fantasy, LGBTQ
    Pubdate: 4th of May
    Publisher: MCD

    At seven months pregnant, Vern is desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised. And so, she flees to the woods for shelter and gives birth to twins, raising them far from the outside world. But even in the forest, Vern is hunted. She’s forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go. And so, she unleashes a brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, leaving her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes. To understand what’s happening to her and to protect her family, Vern has to face her past and her future outside of the woods. In finding the truth, she needs to uncover the secrets of the compound she fled and the violent history that produced it.

    Firebreak by Nicole Kornher-Stace

    best scifi book releases may 2021 firebreak

    Genre: Adult Dystopian Sci-Fi, LGBTQ
    Pudate: 4th of May
    Publisher: Gallery / Saga Press

    Mallory is an orphan of the corporate war—but she’s hardly the only one. As an adult, she lives in a cramped hotel room with eight other people, all working multiple jobs to afford water and make ends meet. Mallory’s best at streaming a popular VR war game. The best part of the game isn’t killing the enemy, though; it’s catching in-game glimpses of SpecOps operatives, celebrity supersoldiers grown and owned by Stellaxis, the corporation that runs America. However, a chance encounter with a SpecOps operative in the game leads Mal to a horrifying discovery: Stellaxis didn’t create the real-life operatives. They were kids, like her, but stolen and augmented and tortured into becoming supersoldiers. The world worships them. The world believes a lie. Defying Stellaxis puts everything at risk, but Mal can’t just sit on the knowledge. She has to do something, even if that means bringing the wrath of the most powerful company in the world down upon her.

    The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga #1) by John Gwynne

    scifi fantasy book releases may 2021 shadow of the gods

    Genre: Adult Epic Fantasy, Dragons
    Pubdate: 4th of May
    Publisher: Orbit

    The cataclysm of the fall of the gods shattered the land of Vigrio. In a new rising world, power-hungry jarls feud, and monsters stalk the woods and mountains. The bones of the dead gods still hold great power for those brave—or desperate—enough to seek them out. With whispers of war echoing across the mountains and fjords, fate follows in the footsteps of three people: a huntress, a noblewoman, and a thrall. All three will shape the world’s fate as it once more falls under the shadow of the gods.

    Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

    scifi book releases may 2021 project hail mary

    Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical Fiction
    Pubdate: 13th of April
    Publisher: Simon Pulse

    Esta is a seasoned thief with no reservations about using her affinity for time to her advantage. She’s trained her whole life for one mission: travel back to 1902 New York, steal the ancient Book of Mysteries and use its power to destroy the Brink and free the Mageus from the Order’s control. But the Book holds an unexpected danger: Seshat, an angry goddess, was trapped within its pages. Now, by mistake, that terrible power lives within Harte, and Seshat will use Esta to destroy the world and take her own revenge.

    Esta and Harte go to search the elemental stones they need to bind Seshat’s power. But they find themselves stranded in time with a continent between them. Esta fights to get back to Harte, but the Order is no longer the only obstacle standing in her way. Another danger grows, more terrible than Seshat and the Order combined.

    Ember of Night (Ember of Night #1) by Molly E. Lee

    ember of night fantasy book releases may 2021

    Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy Romance
    Pubdate: 4th of May
    Publisher: Entangled: Teen

    Harley doesn’t have an easy life: an abusive, alcoholic dad, classmates who don’t care, and no other people who look out for her. All she wants is to make sure her sister gets a better life. This all falls to pieces when a stranger comes to tell Harley she’s the key to stopping a war between Heaven and Hell. Harley doesn’t care; the world can crumble and burn. But Draven, the stranger, is relentless. And even though Harley knows he’s a liar, he’s also very attractive, and her heart is begging her to ignore the signs that he’s no good. When everyone seems to be having it out for her, she needs to figure out what Draven wants from her.

    Beyond the Shore and Shadows (Lena #2) by Chantal Gadoury

    scifi fantasy book releases may 2021 beyond the shore and shadows

    Genre: YA Historical Fantasy, Mermaids
    Pubdate: 11th of May
    Publisher: The Parliament House Press

    Lena, born as a merrow but walking as a human, possesses the Magiske Skal: the shell once owned by the queen of the merrows. With its power comes untold danger, which, in the wrong hands, means an evil that cannot be overcome. After running away, Lena finds herself in the company of Soren Emil. But when the villagers turn against her and Soren, they’re forced to leave and escape to a forgotten cottage on the edge of the shore. Lena knows she must get the shell back to the sea and destroy it before it falls into the hands of Lord Jarl, or worse, his possessive apprentice, Jace Wyatt.

    Illusionary (Hollow Crown #2) by Zoraida Córdova

    illusionary scifi fantasy book releases may 2021

    Genre: YA Historical Fantasy Romance
    Pubdate: 11th of May
    Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

    Renata is still reeling from the betrayal at the hands of the Whispers, but she’s now a girl on the run. With few options left, she reluctantly joins forces with Prince Castian, her most infuriating and intriguing enemy. Both of them want to find the fabled Knife of Memory, kill the ruthless King Fernando, and bring peace to the nation. They have a chance to save everything if only they can set aside their complex and intense feelings for each other.

    Son of the Storm (The Nameless Republic #1) by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

    son of the storm best scifi fantasy book releases may 2021

    Genre: Adult Coming-of-Age Fantasy
    Pubdate: 11th of May
    Publisher: Orbit

    Danso is a clever but disillusioned scholar who longs for a life beyond the rigid family and political obligations expected of the city’s elite. When Lilong, a skin-changing warrior, shows up wounded in Danso’s barn, there’s suddenly a way out. Lilong comes from the Nameless Islands, which are islands that shouldn’t exist. And neither should the mythical magic of ibor that she wields. Danso, swept into a conspiracy far beyond his understanding, sets out on a journey that reveals violently suppressed histories and magic only found in lore.

    Mister Impossible (Dreamer Trilogy #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

    sci fi fantasy books new releases 2021 mister impossible book cover

    Genre: YA Contemporary Urban Fantasy, LGBTQ
    Pubdate: 18th of May
    Publisher: Scholastic Press

    Do the dreamers need the ley lines to save the world, or will it end up dooming the world? Ronan, Hennessy, and Bryde try to make the dreamers more powerful while the Moderators are closing in. They’re sure that this power will bring about disaster. Everyone is pushed to their limits; will they hold on, or will they break?

    Spells Trouble (Sisters of Salem #1) by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

    new release fantasy books spells trouble book cover

    Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy, Witches
    Pubdate: 25th of May
    Publisher: Wednesday Books

    Twin witches… that’s Hunter and Mercy Goode, direct descendants of the founder of their town of Goodeville. It’s now their time to learn what it means to be Gatekeepers: protectors of the Gates to several underworlds, ancient portals between their world and realms where mythology rules and nightmares come to life. But then their mother becomes the first victim in a series of murders, and the twins are out for blood. However, it’ll take more than magic to rein in the ancient monsters who infected their town. They need to come together and accept their destiny, or risk being separated for good.

    The Blacktongue Thief (Blacktongue #1) by Christopher Buehlman

    blacktongue thief fantasy book releases may 2021

    Genre: Adult Action-Epic Dark Fantasy
    Pubdate: 25th of May
    Publisher: Tor Books

    Kinch owes the Takers Guild a small fortune for his education as a thief. His debt has driven him to lie and wait by the old forest road, planning to rob the next traveler that crosses his path. But today, Kinch has picked the wrong mark. Galva is a knight and handmaiden of the goddess of death. She’s searching for her queen, who is missing since a distant northern city fell to giants. Unsuccessful in his robbery, Kinch finds his fate entangled with Galva’s. Common enemies and uncommon dangers force thief and knight on an epic journey where goblins hunger for human flesh, krakens hunt in dark waters, and honor is a luxury few can afford.

    A Touch of Malice (Hades & Persephone #3) by Scarlett St. Clair

    scifi fantasy book releases may 2021 a touch of malice

    Genre: New Adult Fantasy Romance Retellings, Greek Mythology
    Pubdate: 25th of May
    Publisher: Self-published

    Persephone and Hades are engaged. And so, Demeter summons a snowstorm that cripples New Greece in retaliation, and she refuses to lift the blizzard unless her daughter calls off her engagement. When the Olympians intervene, Persephone finds her future in the hands of ancient gods, and they are divided. Do they allow Persephone to marry Hades and go to war with Demeter? Or do they prohibit their union and take up arms against the God of the Dead?

    Allmother Rising by Elexis Bell

    scifi fantasy book releases may 2021 allmother rising

    Genre: Dark Adult Fantasy Romance, Straight & LGBTQ
    Pubdate: 25th of May
    Publisher: Self-published

    A coup in a neighboring kingdom brings threats of invasion and fire to Priestess Rising Veliana’s home in the forest. Under the guidance of her goddess, The Allmother, she allies with the deposed prince, Tyrvahn, and his ex, Garle, the leader of a rebellion. Garle has many secrets, one of which could unravel Veliana and Tyrvahn’s budding romance and the future of these uneasy alliances. When at war with a vicious man twisted by the god of greed, they can’t afford to fight amongst themselves. Can they overcome their differences to save their home and their goddess from the new king? Or will the forests burn over blood-soaked earth?

    Priest of Gallows (War for the Rose Throne #3) by Peter McLean

    priest of gallows fantasy book releases may 2021

    Genre: Adult Military Fantasy
    Pubdate: 27th of May
    Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books

    Tomas is a wealthy, highly respected businessman, happily married to a beautiful woman and Governor of his home city of Ellinburg. At least, that’s who he is to the public. In private, he’s no longer a gang lord but one of the Queen’s Men, invisible and officially non-existent, working in secret to protect his country. But when the queen suddenly dies, Tomas is summoned back to the capital. There, he discovers that his boss, Dieter Vogel, Provost Marshal of the Queen’s Men, is busy tightening his stranglehold on the country. Just as Tomas once fought for his Pious Men, he must now fight for his queen; but now he can’t always tell if he’s on the right side.

    Those were the Book Releases of May 2021

    I hope you found some nice additions to your reading list among these best fantasy & sci-fi book releases of May 2021! Which ones are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments!

    I think Son of the Storm touches on an important theme of buried histories of a people, the Blacktongue Thief seems to have a fresh spin on epic fantasy (and I like dark fantasy), while Firebreak reminds me of Ready Player One. I’ve also heard some positive reviews on The Shadow of the Gods

    Needless to say, there are a lot of great books to choose from this month!

    If you liked this, you might also like...

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    Sign up for the newsletter & receive a free short story: Veils. 

    Ari and her dragon Oizealth are in the final round of a deadly competion: Veils. Only two more men are in the way of what she truly wants: a life together with the one she loves.

    But does Ari have what it takes to win?

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